Braves GM: ‘We’ll find out if we’re right’ in declining to trade Acuna for Yelich


The Marlins traded coveted outfielder Christian Yelich to the Brewers on Thursday night, dashing the hopes of Braves fans that Yelich would soon call SunTrust Park home.

One primary reason Yelich didn’t change National League East teams: Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos refused to include top prospect Ronald Acuna in a deal.

Miami got its young outfielder from the Brewers in Lewis Brinson, Baseball America’s No. 18 overall player, as well as three other well-regarded prospects. 

“It seems like that’s a good deal for both teams,” Anthopoulos said Saturday. “Miami really, they’ve been very clear about their intentions and long-term goals. They got really good young players.”

But as much as the Braves would’ve loved Yelich’s prime years at an affordable rate, they couldn’t part with the consensus best prospect in baseball.

“Without being obvious, but being obvious, there have been players that’ve been traded, and Ronald Acuna has been asked about,” Anthopoulos said. “We’ll find out if we’re right as an organization. I’ve never seen him play. But there are people who really feel strongly about him. It’d take a lot to trade him. Do I believe in anyone being untradable? No. But if you think you have a middle-of-the-diamond guy, with six years of control, upside; that’s a really tough guy to move.”

Anthopoulos admitted it’s easier to package prospects for one player when you’re coming off the season Milwaukee had. The Brewers surprisingly won 86 games, but fell just short of a wild-card spot. He respects that Milwaukee is going aggressive in an “unbelievable” National League Central.

“I always love it when teams go for it and energize a fan base in Milwaukee,” Anthopoulos said. “I remember years ago, the tailgating was unbelievable. It’s a sneaky good market. They’ve drawn three million fans a bunch of years. And you know, look at those years before (former general manager) Doug Melvin got there. Then when he got there. and they made big trades. David Stearns has taken over and done an unbelievable job with where they’re headed. 

“To take that plunge, for smaller markets, that’s what’s good for the game. You’re taking a passionate fan base there, signing a big-time free agent (outfielder Lorenzo Cain), making a push.”

The Braves are still considering outside upgrades, with third base the most likely addition. Despite the interest in Yelich, the team is less inclined to pursue an outfielder because of Acuna.

“We have kicked around doing something in the outfield, but that’s not as big because we don’t want to block Acuna,” Anthopoulos said. “We do feel, at some point in 2018, he’s going to be up here.”

And he’ll have a chance to prove the Braves right for putting their faith in him.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Braves players unconvinced they need big trade
Braves players unconvinced they need big trade

For the first time in a long time, the Braves were popular at the All-Star game. The team has exceeded expectations. It’s propelled by Freddie Freeman, an MVP favorite; Nick Markakis, exemplifying that it’s never too late to have a career year; and a conglomerate of youthful energy. They’re a half-game out of first place in the National...
Freddie Freeman a Vegas favorite for NL MVP at halfway point
Freddie Freeman a Vegas favorite for NL MVP at halfway point

The Braves open the second half of their season Friday in Washington. They sit at 52-42, a half-game behind the Phillies for the National League East lead. Many would consider the Braves, along with those Phillies and perhaps the Mariners, as baseball’s most pleasant surprises. Entering the second half, the Braves have the ninth-best odds to...
How Braves fared in 2018 All-Star game
How Braves fared in 2018 All-Star game

A quartet of Braves All-Stars, including three first-timers, played for the National League in Tuesday’s midsummer classic in Washington. The American League prevailed, 8-6, in a 10-inning affair that included a record 10 home runs. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was the league’s leading vote-getter and playing in his third All-Star...
Mike Foltynewicz channels quiet strength en route to All-Star game
Mike Foltynewicz channels quiet strength en route to All-Star game

When things get tough, Mike Foltynewicz glances at his right hand and sees a jet tattooed on his finger. Foltynewicz grew notorious for what some would call implosions on the mound. If a call didn’t go his way, if a break or two went against him, there were times Foltynewicz struggled to recover. When the Braves acquired him from the Astros,...
Young All-Star Ozzie Albies making impression around baseball
Young All-Star Ozzie Albies making impression around baseball

Ozzie Albies stepped on to the red carpet as a 21-year-old All-Star. The Braves second baseman started in the Futures game just three years ago. He’s a reserve for the National League All-Stars in Washington, and finished as the second-leading vote-getter among NL second baseman (Javy Baez, Cubs). “It’s been great,” Albies said...
More Stories